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MLB Home Run Race is Down to Two

If you believe the odds, the regular season home run race is down to two men: Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. As of July 31, the two sluggers were tied for the Major-League lead in the long bomb department and it’s looking probable that one of them finishes the season on top. Let’s take a look at how they stack up.

After a first half that saw him slug 30 home runs, Aaron Judge has slowed down – significantly. Since the Midsummer Classic, the 25-year-old monster has hit just .158 and after 16 games, he’d cleared the wall just three times. Have we seen the best from Judge or is this just an extended slump?

It's easy to forget that this is Judge's first full year in the majors and slumps like these are going to come but one particular split might explain why he's in such a rut right now. In 170 at-bats at Yankee Stadium, Judge has a .776 slugging percentage but in 188 at-bats on the road, that number goes all the way down to .500.

The Yankees began their second half on an 11-game road trip during which their six-foot-seven-inch tall outfielder struggled mightily. With 32 games left to play in the Bronx, Judge still has plenty of time to take advantage of the Yankees’ joke of a stadium and I wouldn’t expect his drought to last much longer.

Giancarlo, on the other hand, has been going off. His seven home runs since the all-star break have propelled him to the top of the home run leaderboard as well as the oddslist over at BetOnline. He’s the +155 favorite right now and with Gio, it’s all about staying healthy.

Yes, health is a hard factor to handicap but it’s an important one. Stanton has played more than 140 games just twice in his eight-year career and with how hard he swings the bat, there’s always the potential for injury.

That said, Stanton’s big-league experience gives him the trump card in this contest and as someone who likes to see players stay off the disabled list, I’ll take Gio in this spot. The 27-year-old is on pace to crush his career best of 37 home runs in a season and if you’re an advocate of the Home Run Derby curse, this Marlin might just be your man.

2017 MLB Regular-Season Home Run Leader

Odds as of July 31 at BetOnline

  • Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) +155
  • Aaron Judge (NYY) +165
  • Mike Moustakas (KC) +900
  • Cody Bellinger (LAD) +1000
  • Khris Davis (OAK)  +1000
  • George Springer +1600
  • Bryce Harper (WSH) +1600  
  • Justin Smoak +2000
  • Joey Votto (CIN) +2000
  • Logan Morrison +2500
  • Jay Bruce (NYM) +3300
  • Nolan Arenado (COL) +3300
  • Kris Bryant (CHC) +5000     
  • Joey Gallo (TEX) +5000
  • Eric Thames (MIL)  +5000
  • Miguel Sano (MIN) +5000  
  • Anthony Rizzo (CHC) +5000
  • Marcel Ozuna (MIA) +5000
  • Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) +6600
  • Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) +6600
  • Jake Lamb (ARI) +8000
  • Mike Trout (LAA) +8000
  • Scott Schebler (CIN) +8000
  • Justin Bour (MIA) +10000
  • Nelson Cruz (SEA) +10000
  • Manny Machado (BAL)  +10000
  • Charlie Blackmon (COL) +10000
  • Yonder Alonso (OAK) +10000
  • Adam Duvall (CIN) +10000
  • Mark Reynolds (COL) +15000
  • Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) +20000
  • Michael Conforto (NYM) +50000
  • Corey Dickerson (TB) +50000

Archived Articles

Had you placed a preseason bet on any of the three players currently residing atop the home run futures oddsboard, you could potentially be in for a massive profit come season’s end. However, I highly doubt many bettors were bananas enough to bet on Khris Davis, Aaron Judge or especially Eric Thames, who entered the season with odds of +4500, +8500 and +10000 respectively to lead the league in long balls.

Aaron Judge is the current favorite to lead the league in home runs with odds of +600. As of May 2, the young Yankee leads the league with 12 dingers, which has him on pace for an unattainable 78, which is a clear indication he’ll slow down. A quick look at Judge's splits show that he’s a much more effective hitter at home as his slugging percentage is almost double at Yankee Stadium vs road ballparks. Expect his production to slow down a bit as pitching staffs figure him out, but Judge could be one of the top power hitters in baseball for years to come.

The biggest surprise in baseball this season has no doubt been Brewers first baseman Eric Thames, who’s off to a blazing hot start with 11 home runs. After three below-average, part-time seasons as a Blue Jay and Mariner, Thames signed with the NC Dinos — a Korean professional team — where he had home run totals of 37, 47 and 40 in his three seasons with the team. The power surge has continued in North America and the difference in his approach is obvious as he’s much more patient at the plate, evidenced by his 19 walks in 93 at-bats which is already more than the 15 he had in 271 at-bats with Toronto and Seattle in 2012.

As for Davis, it shouldn’t be too much of a shock to see him as one of the top home run hitters in the early part of the season when you consider that he hit 42 last year — tied for fourth-most. Bettors are likely kicking themselves after passing on Davis at +4500, which in hindsight was incredible value at the time.

The best value on the board belongs to the best player in the game, Mike Trout, who currently sits at +2000. Trout has seven home runs to start the season and averaged 35 per season between 2014 and 2016. He’s never led the league in home runs, but came close in 2015 when he hit 41, tying him for fifth-most that season.

2017 MLB Regular-Season Home Run Leader

Odds as of May 3 at BetOnline

  • Aaron Judge (NYY) +600
  • Khris Davis (OAK)  +750     
  • Eric Thames (MIL)  +750     
  • Bryce Harper (WSH) +1000   
  • Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) +1000
  • Nolan Arenado (COL) +1200
  • Freddie Freeman (ATL) +1400
  • Miguel Sano (MIN) +1600
  • Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) +1600                                 
  • Nelson Cruz (SEA) +1600   
  • Mike Trout (LAA) +2000                                 
  • Manny Machado (BAL)  +2000   
  • Chris Davis (BAL) +2000
  • Jay Bruce (NYM) +2000
  • Joey Votto (CIN) +2500
  • Adam Duvall (CIN) +2500   
  • Kris Bryant (CHC) +2500                  
  • Anthony Rizzo (CHC) +3300                  
  • Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) +3300   

Archived Articles

The 2017 MLB season is still a couple of months away, but it’s time to start thinking about the dog days of summer. Don’t limit your long-term investments to just World Series and pennant futures, as odds for who will lead the majors in home runs have hit the board.

Sitting atop the opening odds is Giancarlo Stanton. The Miami Marlins slugger has the potential to mash with the league’s best, with his 2015 campaign standing as proof. However, Stanton has struggled with injuries throughout his career and has played 125 or fewer games in five of his seven seasons. He did look a bit lost at the plate last season, as his numbers were down across the board for his career averages. However, he has a higher ceiling than maybe any other batter in terms of sheer power.

Next up is Nolan Arenado. The Colorado Rockies third baseman has paced the National League in home runs, RBIs and total bases each of the past two seasons. And before you say his numbers are a product of Coors Field, Arenado had a .340 OBP with 16 home runs and 48 RBIs on the road. Yes, the thin air of Colorado helps, but Arenado has been showing that he is getting better at converting what would have been fly balls to home runs.

If you are looking for some deep value, keep an eye on Brian Dozier. There is no doubt that the Minnesota Twins second baseman defies all laws of baseball logic; no two-bagger under six feet should have that kind of power. Dozier’s numbers jumped quite a bit last season, but that has to do with his ability to get balls up and pull them. As long as Dozier can continue to play the way he did last season (he finished second in HRs in MLB) and swing a smart bat, he could come out of nowhere for a lot of fans.

2017 MLB Regular Season Home Run Leader

Odds as of February 22 at 5Dimes

  • Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) +750
  • Nolan Arenado (COL) +1250
  • Chris Davis (BAL) +1500
  • Manny Machado (BAL) +1500
  • Kris Bryant (CHC) +1600
  • Bryce Harper (WSH) +2000
  • Josh Donaldson (TOR) +2000
  • Kyle Schwarber (CHC) +2000
  • Mark Trumbo (BAL) +2000
  • Miguel Sano (MIN) +2000
  • Mike Trout (LAA) +2000
  • Nelson Cruz (SEA) +3000
  • Edwin Encarnacion (CLE) +4000
  • Gary Sanchez (NYY) +4000
  • Paul Goldschmidt (ARZ) +4000
  • Miguel Cabrera (DET) +4000
  • Trevor Story (COL) +4000
  • Anthony Rizzo (CHC) +4000
  • George Springer (HOU) +4000
  • Todd Frazier (CWS) +4000
  • Khris Davis (OAK) +4500
  • Brian Dozier (MIN) +5000
  • Rougned Odor (TEX) +5000
  • Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) +5500
  • Adam Duvall (CIN) +6000
  • Chris Carter (NYY) +6000
  • JD Martinez (DET) +6000
  • Jose Abreu (CWS) +6000
  • Jose Bautista (TOR) +6000
  • Justin Upton (DET) +6000
  • Mookie Betts (BOS) +6000
  • Carlos Gonzalez (COL) +6500
  • Carlos Correa (HOU) +6500
  • Ian Desmond (COL) +7000
  • Adrian Beltre (TEX) +8000
  • Evan Longoria (TB) +8000
  • Maikel Franco (PHI) +8000
  • Freddie Freeman (ATL) +8000
  • Corey Seager (LAD) +8000
  • Joey Gallo (TEX) +8000
  • Aaron Judge (NYY) +8500
  • Adam Jones (BAL) +10000
  • Albert Pujols (LAA) +10000
  • Buster Posey (SF) +10000
  • Carlos Santana (CLE) +10000
  • Corey Dickerson (TB) +10000
  • David Dahl (COL) +10000
  • Eric Hosmer (KC) +10000
  • Eric Thames (MIL) +10000
  • Eugenio Suarez (CIN) +10000
  • Hanley Ramirez (BOS) +10000
  • Jay Bruce (NYM) +10000
  • Joc Pederson (LAD) +10000
  • Joey Votto (CIN) +10000
  • Jorge Soler (CHC) +10000
  • Justin Bour (MIA) +10000
  • Justin Turner (LAD) +10000
  • Kendrys Morales (TOR) +10000
  • Lucas Duda (NYM) +10000
  • Marcell Ozuna (MIA) +10000
  • Mike Napoli (TEX) +10000
  • Robinson Cano (SEA) +10000
  • Ryan Braun (MIL) +10000
  • Stephen Piscotty (STL) +10000
  • Tommy Joseph (PHI) +10000
  • Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) +10000
  • Wil Myers (SD) +10000
  • Xander Bogaerts (BOS) +10000
  • Yasiel Puig (LAD) +10000
  • Yasmany Tomas (ARZ) +10000
  • Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) +10000
  • Brad Miller (TB) +10000
  • Charlie Blackmon (COL) +10000
  • Matt Kemp (ATL) +10000
  • Nomar Mazara (TEX) +10000
  • Addison Russell (CHC) +10000
  • Andrew McCutchen (PIT) +10000
  • Kyle Seager (SEA) +10000
  • Matt Holliday (NYY) +10000
  • Mitch Moreland (BOS) +10000
  • Evan Gattis (HOU) +20000
  • Ian Kinsler (DET) +20000
  • Nick Castellanos (DET) +20000

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